GIRO’19 Stage 9: Prime Time Primoz
Race Report: Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) dominated the final climb to hammer nails into the coffin of all of his rivals. For much of the route it looked like the GC contenders would all finish within a minute or so of one another, but Roglic set the stage alight on the final climb. A plucky ride by Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) kept him in the pink jersey.
It was a day dominated by yet more horrible weather conditions in Italy. Victor Campenaerts set the early fastest time and he could well have gone quicker were it not for a truly woeful bike change inside the final 2km. His time lasted for hours and it looked like it was going to last all day as the rain came down and the course became much slicker. In truth, nobody really got close to the Belgian’s time as time trialling domestiques decided to save their energy for the mountains to come. When Roglic started and failed to come within a minute of the Belgian’s time on the first time checks it looked like it would be two stages in a row for Lotto-Soudal but Roglic stormed the final climb and won by 11 seconds, far far less than the amount Campenaerts had lost in the bike change.
Roglic finished about 35 minutes before Conti crossed the line. When Roglic took the stage win attentions turned to the race for pink. It was exceptionally unlikely that Roglic could take the pink jersey as well as the stage but as the riders who had leapt up the GC in the breakaway earlier in the week faded it became more and more likely that Roglic might yet steal pink. As every rider came through the finish Roglic took another step up the GC until he had only Conti ahead of him. The Italian had ridden well though and although he handed more than three minutes back he still kept pink by a little under two minutes.
If Primoz Roglic wanted to design a time trial that would give him the biggest advantage over his rivals, this would be it. He has 22km of virtually flat riding where his pure power will take him clear and then 12.2km of climbing at 4.5%. That finale ignores the fact that there are significant rolling stretches on the final climb and the first 5km of the climb are above 6%.
It’s essentially a super charged version of the opening time trial – Roglic won that one handsomely. Geographically we are on the east coast of Italy at the top of the calf. Thanks to the fact that the first week went south, and then across country, and back up north, we’re actually only slightly south east of where we were last Saturday when we began in Bologna.
Prior to rolling down the start ramp Roglic held a lead of 35 seconds on Simon Yates, 39 seconds on Vincenzo Nibali, 44 seconds on Miguel Angel Lopez, 49 seconds on Rafa Majka, and 1.49 over Mikel Landa. For the good of the race, many people will be hoping that by the end of the day Yates, Nibali, Lopez, and Majka are all within two minutes of the Slovenian.
The first rider off the ramp was German Nico Denz (AG2R-La Mondiale). He crossed the line just under an hour later giving an idea that the very best riders would probably be pushing near the 50 minute mark. Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) was the first potential contender off the ramp. He is the hour record holder but his preparations for that event meant that he has foregone a lot of racing miles this year; the Giro is just his third race of the year after Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie. In the two time trials he has taken part in this year he has come first and second. The hour record holder came home on his road bike after a bike change in the finale and set a time of 52:03, the first 40km/h+ time of the day. This was the time against which all future efforts would be measured. In replays it looked like Campenaerts’ bike change wasn’t planned, it was horrifically slow and the hour record holder ground to a halt before being pushed up to top speed by a supporter. Chad Haga (Sunweb) had been one of few early starters to really go for it and he finished one minute down on Campenaerts as the rain began to fall. There weren’t many riders looking for the stage win so far.
The first week of the Giro had been dogged by rubbish weather and despite a lovely start to the day the weather was now horrific. The rain was streaming down and although the road was almost all uphill, and so cornering was less of a factor, there were some sketchy bits of road on the initial flat section and some downhill portions towards the end. The opening corners were very technical and although Campenaerts hadn’t planned his start time he was now benefitting from the worsening weather.
The outside contenders for the pink jersey were now heading off but amongst the finishers nobody was getting even close to Campenaerts. It was assumed that Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) would hang onto his pink jersey, or certainly that Roglic wouldn’t steal back pink. However, Conti had lost around one minute to Roglic in just eight kilometres a week ago so there was an outside chance that he would hand back pink to Roglic.
Bob Jungels (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) hadn’t had a great first week and found himself 1.02 behind Roglic. He had a very good opportunity to leapfrog Majka, Nibali, Lopez, and maybe even Yates and get himself back into the overall contention.
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) was the next big name to go. He needed a huge day to limit his losses to Roglic. We expect Nibali to improve in the mountainous final week but he still needed to be within spitting distance of his GC rivals by the time we got there. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) was the next to the start, his time trialling had significantly improved but he knew he was going to be losing time to Roglic today, he just had to limit the amount lost.
Yates was pouring all his effort into this opening wet section but it was almost too much as he skidded out on a corner and almost went straight through the corner into a hedge. Through the first time check Jungels had set a time 44 seconds worse than Campenaerts and Yates almost matched it with Nibali losing around 10 seconds to the Brit. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) suffered a puncture though and he was not having a good day – he came through 40 seconds down on Yates. Rafa Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) lost around 30 seconds to Yates, he wasn’t having a good day in the GC race. Primoz Roglic went through the time check 33 seconds behind Campenaerts and 11 seconds up on Jungels. Yates would have been very happy to have only conceded a little over a handful of seconds to Roglic on the flat section of the course. Campenaerts would also have been happy, unless Roglic was going to speed up rapidly on the final climb he wouldn’t be able to catch the Belgian.
Through the second time check and Nibali had hauled back some time on Jungels, he was now just eight seconds back. This was not at all panic stations for the Italian and he had actually turned the tables on Yates, the Brit was now ten seconds behind Nibali.
Richard Carapaz (Movistar) was the first GC contender to cross the finish line and he was 1.44 down on Campenaerts. Not good but not woeful either, he probably wasn’t going to finish any further behind Roglic. Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) was having a low key start to the race but he was firing on all cylinders in this time trial. He was just 1:19 down on Campenaerts, it was still early days but a top ten overall was on the cards.
Jungels finished 1:05 down on Campenaerts. Carthy’s ride was getting better and better. Once again, Roglic was down on Campenaerts by 51 seconds at the second time check, it was looking very likely that the Belgian would take the stage and that was putting some perspective on the rides of Jungels and Carthy, Jungels would be disappointed but Carthy would have been very very happy. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) finished just 49 seconds down at the finish, good enough for second place. He might yet take time out of all of his GC rivals. The rain was coming down hard again.
Rafa Majka hadn’t had a good day, he crossed the finish line 1:53 down. It wasn’t terminal, but it certainly wasn’t ideal. Nibali was the next rider to the finish, Mollema was the rider he was chasing and he finished just five seconds down on the Dutchman, it was a very good ride by the Italian. In the confusion, Mikel Landa (Movistar) had also crossed the finish losing 2:52 and Miguel Angel Lopez lost 3:34, both of them had probably torpedoed their overall chances.
Yates was going to be the next rider to the finish. The Brit had started incredibly well but he was sinking fast in the Italian rain. He wasn’t even the fastest Brit, he wasn’t even the second fastest Brit, he wasn’t even going to be faster than Landa. Yates finished exactly three minutes down, he’d handed over two minutes to Nibali. This was a huge shock. The Brit had faded madly in the finale and he was now facing a huge challenge in the mountains. Yates finished 1.40 behind countryman Carthy, this was a massive massive blow.
Roglic was dominating the end of the time trial. He had consistently been behind Campenaerts all day but he had gone flat out towards the finish. Roglic had taken 11 seconds on Campenaerts, far less than Campenaerts had lost during his botched bike change. The Belgian’s team will have a lot to answer for at the end of the day, they would almost certainly have been looking at two stage wins on the trot if they’d got even a semi-decent change out of their mechanic. Yates started the day 35 seconds down on Roglic but he would finish it 3.46 down, that might well be race over for the Brit.
Pink Jersey Race
We could now turn our attentions to the race for pink. Conti had lost a minute to Roglic at the first time check but he still had 4:24 in his back pocket. That would usually be good enough but Roglic had streamed up that final climb, we couldn’t write off a stage and a pink jersey for the Slovenian.
What we did know was that Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF) wouldn’t be in white, he was having a shocking day and had lost 3:43 at the second time check. It wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility that Carthy might jump into white, he would require some impressive collapses from those ahead of him but he had already overtaken Sam Oomen (Sunweb) and Lopez. Carboni was also looking like he would be passed. The Brit really had put in a hell of a charge.
Roglic had so far overtaken Pello Bilbao (Astana), Oomen, Andrey Amador (Movistar), and Pieter Serry (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) in the race for the pink. He had also overtaken Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) who had put in a nice ride but simply wasn’t in the same class as the Slovenian. He’d also overtaken Amaro Antunes (CCC Team). No matter what else happened Roglic was going to be at least sixth overall when the day finished but amazingly the pink jersey was still within his grasp. Conti at least was probably going to be okay, he had lost time but he had leaked it rather than haemorrhaged it like some other riders.
Hugh Carthy wasn’t going to take the white jersey but he was the best of the overall contenders in that competition. Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale) did just enough to take white from Carboni and Carthy was good enough for third. Conti kept pink by 1:50 but that is his lead on Roglic and will almost certainly vanish when the race heads into the mountains.
Roglic, Jungels, Nibali, and Carthy were the big winners of the day but Roglic will be happy to take a lead of 1:44 on Nibali into the first rest day. Simon Yates and Miguel Angel Lopez had a terrible day and go into the rest day 3:46 and 4:29 down on GC – it looks like race over for them both.
Stage winner, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “It’s a perfect performance in my mind. I did a good job. I took it easy at the beginning and I gave it all at the end. It’s nice to take some time over the other GC favorites but the Giro is far from over.”
Race leader, Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates): “It was very rainy for me but I stayed calm. My goal was to keep the Maglia Rosa so I’m very happy with the result. I only thought of Carboni who was next on GC but eventually Roglic took a lot of time on me. He’s a great rider but I’m glad I can still enjoy the Maglia Rosa.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 9 Result:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 51:52
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:11
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:00
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:05
5. Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education First at 1:10
6. Chad Haga (USA) Sunweb at 1:14
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:16
8. Hugh John Carthy (GB) EF Education First at 1:30
9. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:43
10. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 1:52
11. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 1:55
12. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar
13. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 1:56
14. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:04
15. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 2:08
16. Ben O’Connor (Aus) Dimension Data at 2:11
17. Victor De La Parte (Spa) CCC at 2:20
18. Thomas Leezer (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 2:32
19. Sean Bennett (USA) EF Education First at 2:37
20. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 2:39
21. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 2:40
22. Tom Bohli (Swi) UAE Team Emirates at 2:44
23. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 2:46
24. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos at 2:47
25. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Ineos at 2:49.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 9:
1. Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 36:08:32
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 1:50
3. Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:21
4. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar at 2:33
5. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 2:36
6. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 2:39
7. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC at 3:05
8. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 3:27
9. Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 3:30
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 3:32
11. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 3:34
12. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 3:45
13. Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 3:47
14. Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 4:08
15. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 4:34
16. Hugh John Carthy (GB) EF Education First at 4:36
17. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 4:42
18. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 4:43
19. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 5:02
20. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 5:06
21. Victor De La Parte (Spa) CCC at 5:20
22. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 5:22
23. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 5:24
24. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 5:36
25. Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education First at 5:51.